How to Activate Google Docs Offline on Your Chromebook

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No Microsoft Word alternative is worth its salt if it requires an Internet connection to edit important documents. Fortunately for Chromebook owners, Google Drive makes its documents and presentations editable offline. So whether or not you're near a hotspot, you can make changes to your files and near-seamlessly sync them to their cloud-based counterparts when you reconnect. Here's how to set it up. 

  1. Log in to Google Docs in your browser or launch Google Drive from the app menu if it's already installed.
  2. Select More from the left-side menu.
  3. Select Offline.
  4. Click Enable Offline. (Note: If you already have the offline app installed, you can skip steps 5 - 8.)
  5. Click Get the App to download the Google Docs Chrome app from the Web store. 
  6. Select Add To Chrome in the top right.
  7. Select Add in the dialogue box that appears to confirm the download.

    The Google Drive app now appears in the apps menu.

  8. Return to the Google Docs dashboard either by clicking Launch App or selecting Google Drive from the apps menu. 

How to Work Offline

After setup, when you are offline, you can open and edit your Google Docs. A message appears in the top center that says All Changes Saved Offline.
 When you connect to the Internet again, you’ll see a yellow dialogue box in the top center that prompts you to Switch To Docs Online. 

Click Switch To Docs Online and your document is updated with changes you made offline.

You'll also notice that in the dashboard, all Google docs are labeled as Offline.

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Add a comment
  • Paul C. Says:

    I have a Samsung Chromebook and in the Google Drive window, there is no "More" option or "Offline" option. Instead of "Create" at the top it says "New" and a different list of options appears than the one pictured in this article. Can someone help me?

  • D. Says:

    There is no "more" option in google docs.

  • dee kay Says:

    That was great - until my chromebook ran out of juice and shut down. Upon restarting, there was NO sign of the 2 pages in Google Docs I'd written. Great.

  • Jeff Pfister Says:

    This is great except its out of date. Google has updated their google drive and has not mentioned how to go offline. Its not very intuitive. I have many students who do not have access to wifi at home and need the ability to use their docs at home while offline.

  • Mike Wilson Says:

    DOES NOT WORK! Google Slides when offline gives error, stating "Presentation not available when offline". Not sure why all the articles promote offline features when they don't work!

  • Tom Says:

    I followed these instructions, but can't open or edit my documents from drive. If I try to open a document it tells me the google drive app is not available. I can only edit offline if the document is open before losing internet connection. Any suggestions?

  • Audrey Says:

    Thank you. This was so helpful. I couldn't figure out why offline wasn't working!